Let's talk about the best business ideas for women! It’s so important for our world to have women in business. After all, we’re half the population—that’s billions of women with unique ideas, skillsets, and visions for the future. Female business owners employ nearly 9 million people and generate 1.7 trillion dollars in sales per year. They help keep the economy running while improving their own lives and innovating new ways to make the world better.
While any woman can start any type of business she has the knowledge and experience for, here are some of our favorite and best business ideas for women!
1. Educational services
About 77% of public school teachers in the U.S. are female. You’ve heard of male-dominated industries—education is definitely more of a female-dominated industry.
If you love absorbing and sharing knowledge, an education-oriented business could be a great fit. Often, these are flexible businesses where you can choose your own hours, work from anywhere, and keep it as a one-woman operation or scale it to employ others.
Tutoring in-person or online
Women with academic skills can use them to help students succeed in their subject of choice. You can offer tutoring for elementary school students, high-schoolers, college students, or even adults. Learn more about starting a tutoring business here.
Teaching English online
Since English is a global language, there's plenty of demand from adults who want to learn it and parents who want their children to grow up bilingual. There are already plenty of companies like VIPKID and Qkids where teachers can offer their services, but you can also start your own private teaching business if you have the marketing chops or connections.
Starting an online course
If you're an expert on a certain subject, building your own courses can be a highly efficient way to teach it to others. It's a lot of work upfront, but once you've written the materials or recorded the videos, the bulk of the job is done. There are a variety of online course platforms where you can build and sell courses.
This can be a great home business for women skilled in an instrument. Advertise locally and have students come to you for lessons in piano, violin, guitar, or whatever your specialty is. You can even teach virtually. There are requirements to teach music in schools, but anyone can give private lessons.
Due to competitive college admissions, many high-school students need extra help to set themselves up for success. With a college prep small business, you can offer SAT tutoring, help them write practice admissions essays, give advice on applying for scholarships, help them brush up on the subjects they're likely to face their first semester, etc.
2. Design businesses
Women unquestionably have an edge in the design industry. We quite literally have an “eye” for it: research shows that women are able to distinguish shades of color that look identical to men. Depending on your other professional skills, this can spark several types of small business ideas for women.
Help people create attractive and functional spaces in their homes. Note that in some states, starting an interior design business requires that you have specific licensing.
Use your art skills and graphic design software to make logos, infographics, advertisements, web banners, and more. This is a great small business idea for women who've already worked in a similar industry and are ready to strike out on their own. Learn some dos and don'ts of starting a graphic design business here.
It's common to see self-taught professionals in the tech industry, so you can easily find resources to teach yourself web design and start seeking clients. There are several different tech skills under this umbrella, including visual design, UX (user experience) design, and sometimes basic coding like HTML. Your goal is to make websites attractive and easy to navigate.
3. Skincare & beauty
Despite women comprising the bulk of consumers in the beauty industry, only 29% of executives and board members at top beauty brands are women. In the top 100 beauty companies, only 10 had a female CEO. But since these products are primarily used by women, it makes sense for them to be created by women as well, right?
To help inspire beauty business ideas for women, here are 17 female-owned beauty brands spanning lotions, cleansers, skincare for women of color, makeup, and more.
A small Etsy shop or farmer's market stall can be the perfect jumping-off point in this small business idea for women. Hone your craft with artisan soaps, dry shampoo, body butters/scrubs, or other natural beauty products you can make at home.
4. Home, life, & financial organization
It’s not just a stereotype that women are more organized. Research shows that women are more organized under pressure and better at multitasking. This makes them perfect candidates to run businesses where these skills are paramount.
For many fellow men and women business owners, virtual assistants are their lifeline—the ones behind the scenes who keep everything running. They typically perform a variety of administrative tasks like answering emails, organizing calendars, doing research or data entry, etc. You can work on your own, or scale up and hire other virtual assistants so you can take on more clients.
Professional home organization
Remember when everyone was talking about Marie Kondo? It illuminated the fact that many people aren't happy with the amount of clutter in their homes. However, sometimes it takes an un-emotionally-attached third party to manage the purging process. With a home organization business, you can charge an hourly fee to come declutter a home and restructure rooms in a better way.
If you liked math in school and have a knack for numbers, you might make a great bookkeeper. Bookkeeping is a great small business idea for women because you can easily find free bookkeeping courses to get trained in the right skills. You can often find flexible online work doing bookkeeping for small businesses, so it's a business you can have on the side or take full-time.
5. Event planning
Tying into the ideas above, event planning is another industry that involves a ton of multitasking and coordinating details. You can start a wedding planning business to help brides and grooms coordinate flowers, catering, DJs, photographers, and everything else that goes into the day. Or, you can focus on other types of events: corporate events, business grand openings, product launches, children's parties, etc. Learn more about starting an event planning business.
6. App development
Coding skills are easy to learn for free online and have a wide variety of useful applications (no pun intended). If you want to use them to work for yourself and build projects, you might enjoy focusing on app development programming languages.
You can build any kind of app you want, but if you want to add a female-centric twist, there are plenty of helpful apps built by women, for women. Think about the small problems you encounter each day as a woman and how an app could solve them. You could build one related to personal safety, making new female friends, personalizing skincare based on data, etc.
7. Caring for animals or children
Do you love animals or kids? Get paid for it! Over 92% of childcare workers are women since moms usually prefer to leave their kids with female caregivers. Starting a home daycare can be an excellent business idea for women. You'll need to obtain the proper licensing for your state, set up a welcoming care space, and consider how you'll handle the thousand things that kids can need.
Animal lovers also have plenty of ways to turn furry friends into furry clients. Consider starting a business where you offer your services for petsitting, dogwalking, or grooming.
8. Food service/catering
Got talent in the kitchen? Want to exercise your cake decorating chops more often than the occasional birthday? Start a food-centered business! Just keep in mind that with any food business, you'll be governed by your state's applicable requirements on food safety. You might have to rent a commercial kitchen or get your home kitchen inspected before you can start making sales.
Make cakes for special occasions, take orders for cookies and cupcakes, bake fresh loaves of bread, etc. This business for women can take several forms. You could get a physical storefront and start an official bakery, or offer made-to-order baked goods for pickup or delivery, or even sell them online if you're confident they'll ship intact.
You can also start a home-based catering business to prepare appetizers and meals for various types of events. If you can occupy a niche that's rare in your area (e.g. gluten-free or vegan catering), you'll be more likely to get attention as a new business.
Take your recipes on the road by investing in a mobile kitchen—a food truck! These can be costly to start up, so it might be wise to test your recipes and local demand on a smaller scale first. Of course, they're still much cheaper than a full-fledged restaurant and can give you more freedom with the business.
Circling back to the eye for design and color, those are both involved with composing a great photograph. The money in photography is mostly in events like weddings, and it can be a difficult industry to enter. But it also makes a great side business idea for women, since you can schedule wedding or portrait sessions on weekends and still keep your Monday-Friday job. Learn more about starting a photography business.
10. Running an online store
With an online store, you have lots of flexibility and low overhead costs as opposed to a brick-and-mortar retail storefront. You can run your business through an established e-commerce site like Etsy, Amazon, or eBay, or build your own website on a platform like Shopify. The biggest question is what to sell—and that part's up to you. You can sell your own crafted items, flip garage sale finds, design clothing—whatever there's a demand for.
11. Opening a bed and breakfast
This idea combines a real estate investment (your B&B building itself) with the hospitality industry (offering rooms, meals, and hotel-style amenities). Usually, you can charge a decent rate per night for this kind of boutique experience. It's much easier to find a building for a small B&B than it would be to open a full-fledged inn or motel. If you'd prefer to skip the “breakfast” part, you can also host short-term rentals through a platform like Airbnb.
A short-term rental business can help you cover the mortgage and taxes on a property and turn a profit, but they can also be risky during periods of travel uncertainty. Build a solid plan and don't over-leverage yourself. Your bills for the property will still be due even if no guests stay that month!
Did you always get an A on your college essays? You might have a talent for the written word! Use it to start a freelance writing business or run and monetize your own blog on a topic you’re passionate about. This is my career, so I won't be biased: it can be a hard business to start. For every great client, you might encounter 10 who want to pay a penny per word. You might get your start writing ultra-glamorous content about water filters and whether asphalt or concrete is better for driveways. It's all part of the journey!
If you go the blogging route, it takes time to get established in your niche, start appearing in search results and turn it into a source of revenue. Learn about ways to monetize a blog here.
13. Anything that fits your skills and passions
Don’t force yourself to fit the mold of what you think women in business should do or be. If you want to start a business in construction, manufacturing, or another classically male-dominated space, and you have the knowledge to make it work—go for it. You may face more of an uphill battle and encounter people who underestimate you, but someone has to change the women-in-business statistics. These business ideas for women are just a guide and can help you generate even more ideas!
To start your woman-owned business off on the right foot, see our tips for managing your business finances, and join this free Clever Girl course on creating a solid brand and marketing strategy. There's no better than time now to take action on the above-listed business ideas for women and beyond!